During the 2012 MLB All-Star Game last week in Kansas City, Verlander, the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young winner, had one of the worst innings of pitching in his career -- and in the All-Star event itself. He gave up five earned-runs and failed to locate his comet-like fastball, resulting in two walks and plenty of baserunners. He wanted to give fans a treat by throwing the heat early and often, of course. Can't really hold that against him.
However, after the outing, many searched for an explanation. Jokingly, Upton, a 20-year-old model who is reportedly Verlander's love interest, was blamed for the star's poor performance. It was only natural to pass the buck to a beautiful woman, right? There is no other reason, other then being love-struck, that Verlander could have pitched so badly.
Well, we then moved onto Verlander Watch 2012. Would he continue to pitch poorly? Would Upton be the culprit, once again, if Verlander failed to impress? We didn't get that far. Verlander (10-5, 2.43 ERA) returned to his Cy Young-like ways Sunday in a 4-0 road win over the Baltimore Orioles, helping the Tigers (46-43) take two of three from the AL East contender.
Verlander fanned eight Orioles in the win, going eight innings and allowing a stingy, very Verlander-like three hits in the process. That's the guy Tigers followers know.
So much for the Upton jinx. It's over. But you can still listen to a song about it ("Upton Girl"), courtesy of a Michigan resident who remade the classic Billy Joel hit "Uptown Girl" to fit Verlander's situation with the young, incredibly attractive bikini model.
Adam Biggers has followed Major League Baseball for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Tigers. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.